World Cup row witnessed between supporters and Qatari authorities

World Cup 2022 briefing: Day 3

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Express Sport witnessed an angry exchange between Qatari authorities and a group of supporters after a lighter was confiscated before Mexico’s World Cup clash with Poland. FIFA banned the objects prior to the tournament getting started. However, it’s still a decision that hasn’t pleased many in the country – despite smoking areas being put up around the ground.

Mexico and Poland fans have been making their way into the Stadium 974 ahead of kick off as they spur their sides on at the World Cup.

But Express Sport witnessed an angry exchange between a group of supporters and Qatari security ahead of the match in Doha.

One fan had been able to smuggle a lighter past the security check-points and walked into the smoking area with their cigarette already lit.

This was noticed by an official, who then stepped forward and asked that he hand it in.

The fan, who was from Poland, was furious and made it clear that he felt the rule was ridiculous and that he shouldn’t have to.

He went on to ask the Qatari official how he’d be able to smoke once out of the ground, with no lighter in his possession.

The security guard then responded by shrugging his shoulders and insisting they’d have to find a way around that issue themselves, and that it wasn’t his concern.

The Poland fan also vented his annoyance at Qatar over many of their other strict rules, too.

“You can’t do anything over here,” he moaned. “You can’t drink and now you can’t smoke, it’s not right.”

Qatar have created smoking areas with barrells placed in the middle, with each individual one having lighter guns attached so fans can walk over and spark their cigarettes when they need a fix.

The country has also banned items such as fireworks and flares, which are normally forbidden at grounds in Europe and elsewhere.

And vaping is illegal in Qatar, despite its popularity soaring around the world.

Cigarettes are available for as little as £5.32 in the country, in stark contrast to England where they cost an average of £9.91 – according to an investigation published in 2017.

The reality is, with the cost of living crisis, they now cost even more than that.

But while cigarettes are cheap, alcohol is extremely expensive and is only available in hotels around the country.

Some Wales fans paid a huge £79 for just five beers during their 1-1 draw with USA on Monday, which works out at roughly £15.80 per drink.

One fan, named Leuan, was quoted as telling “It is what it is really.

“We’d rather pay this than walk around struggling to find somewhere to have a drink.

“We’re staying on a cruise ship where the drinks are about the same price, so it’s just nice to get off that today.”

Mexico and Poland lock horns today with both sides possessing some star players.

The former have Hirving Lozano, with fans chanting his name as they made their way towards the stadium.

And Poland have Robert Lewandowski who, speaking prior to the contest, admitted he was hoping to score at the World Cup for the first time.

“I think about the last World Cup for sure,” he said. “To score at a World Cup would be a huge dream and I’m going to do everything for this dream.

“I hope in this World Cup it will happen. I am glad for everything I have achieved and these memories for the World Cup, so now is the time to enjoy.”

Poland have failed to make it past the group stages since 1986. But Mexico have done so on their last eight World Cup appearances, with their last failure coming back in 1978.

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